Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
Have a good and sweet year as we go into Yom Kippur
Shanna Tova to you from last week and going into Yom Kippur. On Rosh Hashana it is determined who will live and who will die and how much money you will have for the year (on Yom Kippur the decree is sealed), so the expression in Hebrew is שנה טןבה ןנתוקה which means not only should you have a good year but a sweet one as well.
Why is necessary to add sweet to the blessing of having a good year, isn't that sweet enough? Well we believe that every year is good, even if you get cancer (Hasholem as happened to my friend) because whatever G-d does is good even if looks bad. Therefore we add the expression let it be a sweet good year, because even if it is good, we want to be sweet and not painful as well. Most of us are not the level of Rabbi Akiva who said no matter what it happened it was good. We want it to be good and sweet.
Love Yehuda Lave
More about the Shofer (its in Morse code)
I share with you a great story I heard from Rav Bienenfeld that is very appropriate and meaningful for this time of year.
"One Rosh Hashana I was ill in Shaarei Tzedddek hospital, and someone blew shofar for us. There was a non-religious Jew in the room who was intrigued by the shofar and he asked many questions. He then told us his story: 'I served in the Israeli navy on a submarine where Morse code was the means of communication. I became an expert in Morse code, able to send and decipher messages very quickly.
Some years after serving in the navy, I saw the army was looking for a Morse code specialist to be in charge of several submarines. To apply for the job we had to be at a certain office between 10:00 and 12:00 in the morning. I arrived at 11: 50 and saw a room packed with applicants with no one being called inside. There was music playing in the background and I sat down for a few moments and listened.
'I then got up, opened the door to the office and said, "I came for the interview". ' There are many people waiting in line ahead of you', the secretary said, and you just came in? Wait your turn'. I paid no attention to her words. I just walked straight into the room and spoke to the person in charge. After just a few moments, I was hired for the job. The interviewer went out to the waiting room and told everyone, 'thank you all for coming and I'm sorry about the delay. You can all go home, because we've already chosen someone.
'It isn't fair, they all said in unison. 'This man came in last. Why did you interview him before us?' He replied, 'Did your not pay attention to the music? Listen carefully, it's in Morse code, and here' the hidden message: 'If you've come for the interview, just open the door and come in. Even if the secretary tells you to return, just go straight to the one in charge' 'This man understood the message. You didn't , so you're obviously not that fluent enough in the code'.
All the above was said by this unlearned Jew in the hospital who was seeking to understand the meaning of shofar. He then offered the following compelling insight. The shofar is also speaking a language, but one has to pay close attention and be expert enou"gh to understand what is being said".
Indeed, that simple Jew was correct, for one of the primary purposes of shofar is to rouse us to do teshuvah. On Rosh HaShana the shofar with its own unique "Morse code" sounds, is speaking to us and saying, the time has come for you to just open the door and come inside. Do not be discouraged by the 'yetzer hara' secretary who tries to dissuade your from proceeding. The boss-HaShem-is waiting for you to enter and return to Him.
Sometimes, among all the many mystical reasons for the shofar, the simplest and most direct is the most powerful of all. In truth, we all want the job of living another year and hope to merit that zechut. The only question is whether we can hear the call, understand the coded message and act upon it. Yes, we will have to change, and will do so , if necessary. As the pasuk states in our parasha, (30:11) For this Mitzvah that I command you today- is very near to you-, it is in your mouth and in your heart to do". Shabbat Shalom from Yerushalayim, Rabbi Aharon Ziegler
Yom Kippur Hebrew: יוֹם כִּיפּוּר, , or יום הכיפורים), also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.
EtymologyYom means "day" in Hebrew and Kippur comes from a root that means "to atone". Yom Kippur is usually expressed in English as "Day of Atonement".
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur is "the tenth day of [the] seventh month" (Tishrei) and is regarded as the "Sabbath of Sabbaths". Rosh Hashanah (referred to in the Torah as Yom Teruah) is the first day of that month according to the Hebrew calendar. On this day forgiveness of sins is also asked of God.
According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person's fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to "seal" the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend their behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero). The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes that they have been forgiven by God.
The Yom Kippur prayer service includes several unique aspects. One is the actual number of prayer services. Unlike a regular day, which has three prayer services (Ma'ariv, the evening prayer; Shacharit, the morning prayer; and Mincha, the afternoon prayer), or a Shabbat or Yom Tov, which have four prayer services (Ma'ariv; Shacharit; Mussaf, the additional prayer; and Mincha), Yom Kippur has five prayer services (Ma'ariv; Shacharit; Musaf; Mincha; and Ne'ilah, the closing prayer). The prayer services also include private and public confessions of sins (Vidui) and a unique prayer dedicated to the special Yom Kippur avodah (service) of the Kohen Gadol (high priest) in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
As one of the most culturally significant Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur is observed by many secular Jews who may not observe other holidays. Many secular Jews attend synagogue on Yom Kippur—for many secular Jews the High Holy Days are the only times of the year during which they attend synagogue—causing synagogue attendance to soar.
Leviticus 16:29 mandates establishment of this holy day on the 10th day of the 7th month as the day of atonement for sins. It calls it the Sabbath of Sabbaths and a day upon which one must afflict one's soul.
A parallel has been drawn between these activities and the human condition according to the Biblical account of the expulsion from the garden of Eden. Refraining from these symbolically represents a return to a pristine state, which is the theme of the day. By refraining from these activities, the body is uncomfortable but can still survive. The soul is considered to be the life force in a body. Therefore, by making one's body uncomfortable, one's soul is uncomfortable. By feeling pain one can feel how others feel when they are in pain. This is the purpose of the prohibitions.
Total abstention from food and drink as well as keeping the other traditions begins at sundown, and ends after nightfall the following day. One should add a few minutes to the beginning and end of the day, called tosefet Yom Kippur, lit. "addition to Yom Kippur". Although the fast is required of all healthy men over 13 or women over 12, it is waived in the case of certain medical conditions.
Virtually all Jewish holidays involve meals, but since Yom Kippur involves fasting, Jewish law requires one to eat a large and festive meal on the afternoon before Yom Kippur, after the Mincha (afternoon) prayer. This meal is meant to make up for the inability to eat a large meal on the day of Yom Kippur instead, due to the prohibition from eating or drinking.
Wearing white clothing (or a kittel for Ashkenazi Jews), is traditional to symbolize one's purity on this day. Many Orthodox men immerse themselves in a mikveh on the day before Yom Kippur.
Before sunset on Yom Kippur eve, worshipers gather in the synagogue. The Ark is opened and two people take from it two Sifrei Torah (Torah scrolls). Then they take their places, one on each side of the Hazzan, and the three recite (in Hebrew):
In the tribunal of Heaven and the tribunal of earth, we hold it lawful to pray with transgressors.
The cantor then chants the Kol Nidre prayer (Aramaic: כל נדרי, English translation: "All vows"). It is recited in Aramaic. Its name "Kol Nidre" is taken from the opening words, and translates "All vows":
All personal vows we are likely to make, all personal oaths and pledges we are likely to take between this Yom Kippur and the next Yom Kippur, we publicly renounce. Let them all be relinquished and abandoned, null and void, neither firm nor established. Let our personal vows, pledges and oaths be considered neither vows nor pledges nor oaths.
The leader and the congregation then say together three times "May all the people of Israel be forgiven, including all the strangers who live in their midst, for all the people are in fault." The Torah scrolls are then placed back into the Ark, and the Yom Kippur evening service begins.
Some married Ashkenazi Orthodox men wear a kittel, a white robe-like garment for evening prayers on Yom Kippur, otherwise used by males on their wedding day. They also wear a tallit (prayer shawl), which is typically worn only during morning services.
Prayer services begin with the Kol Nidrei prayer, which is recited before sunset. Kol Nidre is a prayer that dates back to 9th century Palestine. It is recited in a dramatic manner, before the open ark, using a melody that dates back to the 16th century. Then the service continues with the evening prayers (Ma'ariv or Arvit) and an extended Selichot service.
The morning prayer service is preceded by litanies and petitions of forgiveness called selichot; on Yom Kippur, many selichot are woven into the liturgy of the mahzor (prayer book). The morning prayers are followed by an added prayer (Mussaf) as on all other holidays. This is followed by Mincha (the afternoon prayer) which includes a reading (Haftarah) of the entire Book of Jonah, which has as its theme the story of God's willingness to forgive those who repent.
The service concludes with the Ne'ila ("closing") prayer, which begins shortly before sunset, when the "gates of prayer" will be closed. Yom Kippur comes to an end with a recitation of Shema Yisrael and the blowing of the shofar, which marks the conclusion of the fast.
The Talmud states, "Yom Kippur atones for those who repent and does not atone for those who do not repent".Repentance in Judaism is done through a process called Teshuva, which in its most basic form consists of regretting having committed the sin, resolving not to commit that sin in the future and to confess that sin before God. Confession in Judaism is called Vidui (Hebrew וידוי). There is also a commandment to repent on Yom Kippur. Accordingly, Yom Kippur is unique for the confessional, or Vidui, that is part of the prayer services. In keeping with the requirement to repent on Yom Kippur, Jews recite the full Vidui a total of 9 times: once during Mincha on Yom Kippur eve, and on Yom Kippur itself during Ma'ariv (2 times), Shacharit (2 times), Musaf (2 times), and Mincha (2 times); at Ne'eilah, only the short confessional is said. The first time in each service takes place during the personal recitation of the Amidah (standing, silent prayer), and the second time during the cantor's repetition of the Amidah (except during the preceding Mincha), in a public recitation.
The Yom Kippur confessional consists of two parts: a short confession beginning with the word Ashamnu (אשמנו, "we have sinned"), which is a series of words describing sin arranged according to the aleph-bet (Hebrew alphabetic order), and a long confession, beginning with the words Al Cheyt (על חטא, "for the sin"), which is a set of 22 double acrostics, also arranged according to the aleph-bet, enumerating a range of sins. It is notable that during the public recitation of Ashamnu together with the cantor, the entire congregation sings these words to a tune, representing the joy of being cleansed from one's sins.
Avodah: remembering the Temple serviceA recitation of the sacrificial service of the Temple in Jerusalemtraditionally features prominently in both the liturgy and the religious thought of the holiday. Specifically, the Avodah("service") in the Musaf prayer recounts in great detail the sacrificial ceremonies of the Yom Kippur Korbanot(sacrificial offerings) that are recited in the prayers but have not been performed for 2,000 years, since the destruction of the Second Templein Jerusalem by the Romans.
This traditional prominence is rooted in the Babylonian Talmud's description of how to attain atonement following the destruction of the Temple. According to Talmud tractate Yoma, in the absence of a Temple, Jews are obligated to study the High Priest's ritual on Yom Kippur, and this study helps achieve atonement for those who are unable to benefit from its actual performance. In Orthodox Judaism, accordingly, studying the Temple ritual on Yom Kippur represents a positive rabbinically ordained obligation which Jews seeking atonement are required to fulfill.
In Orthodox synagogues and many Conservative ones a detailed description of the Temple ritual is recited on the day. In most Orthodox and some Conservative synagogues, the entire congregation prostrates themselves at each point in the recitation where the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) would pronounce the Tetragrammaton (God's holiest name, according to Judaism).
The main section of the Avodah is a threefold recitation of the High Priest's actions regarding expiation in the Holy of Holies. Performing the sacrificial acts and reciting Leviticus 16:30, ("Your upright children"). (These three times, plus in some congregations the Aleinu prayer during the MusafAmidah on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, are the only times in Jewish services when Jews engage in prostration, with the exception of some Yemenite Jews and talmedhei haRambam (disciples of Maimonides) who may prostrate themselves on other occasions during the year.) A variety of liturgical poems are added, including a poem recounting the radiance of the countenance of the Kohen Gadol after exiting the Holy of Holies, traditionally believed to emit palpable light in a manner echoing the Torah's account of the countenance of Moses after descending from Mount Sinai, as well as prayers for the speedy rebuilding of the Temple and the restoration of sacrificial worship. There are a variety of other customs, such as hand gestures to mime the sprinkling of blood (one sprinkling upwards and seven downwards per set of eight).
Orthodox liturgies include prayers lamenting the inability to perform the Temple service and petitioning for its restoration, which Conservative synagogues generally omit. In some Conservative synagogues, only the Hazzan (cantor) engages in full prostration. Some Conservative synagogues abridge the recitation of the Avodah service to varying degrees, and some omit it entirely.
Reform synagogues generally experience their largest attendance of the year on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah for worship services. The prayer philosophy of Reform, as described in the introduction of the movement's High Holy Day prayerbook, "Mishkan Hanefesh", is to reflect "varied theological approaches that enable a diverse congregation to share religious experience... with a commitment to Reform tradition, as well as [to] the larger Jewish tradition." A central feature of Reform these services is the rabbinic sermon. "For more than a century and a half in the Reform Movement," writes Rabbi Lance Sussman, "High Holiday sermons were among the most anticipated events in synagogue life, especially on the eve of Rosh Hashanah and Kol Nidre night."Reconstructionist services omit the entire service as inconsistent with modern sensibilities.
Yom Kippur falls each year on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, which is 9 days after the first day of Rosh Hashanah. In terms of the Gregorian calendar, the earliest date on which Yom Kippur can fall is September 14, as happened most recently in 1899 and 2013. The latest Yom Kippur can occur relative to the Gregorian dates is on October 14, as happened in 1967 and will happen again in 2043. After 2089, the differences between the Hebrew calendar and the Gregorian calendar will result in Yom Kippur falling no earlier than September 15.[2
In the Torah
The Torah calls the day Yom HaKippurim (יוֹם הַכִּיפּוּרִים) and in it Leviticus 23:27 decrees a strict prohibition of work and affliction of the soul upon the tenth day of the seventh month, later known as Tishrei. The laws of Yom Kippur are mentioned in three passages in the Torah:
Leviticus 16:1–34: God told Moses to tell Aaron that he can only enter the sanctuary in front of the cover that is on the ark when God is present on the cover in a cloud. If Aaron is to enter otherwise, he will die. On the tenth day of the seventh month, God said that the people must not work in order to cleanse and atone for their sins. The Kohen will lead in the atonement of all the people.
Leviticus 23:26–32: God said to Moses that the tenth day of the month is the day of atonement and will be holy. The people must give a fire-offering to God and must not work. God told Moses that whoever does work, God will rid of the soul from its people. This is a day of complete rest from the evening of the ninth day of the month to the following evening.
Numbers 29:7–11: The tenth day of the seventh month is a holy day and one must not work. For an elevation offering, one must sacrifice a young bull, a ram and seven lambs who are a year old. As well, for a sin offering, one must sacrifice a male goat.
Traditionally, Yom Kippur is considered the date on which Moses received the second set of Ten Commandments. It occurred following the completion of the second 40 days of instructions from God. At this same time, the Israelites were granted atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf; hence, its designation as the Day of Atonement.
Mishnaic and Talmudic literatureTemple service
The following summary of the Temple service is based on the traditional Jewish religious account described in Mishnah tractate Yoma, appearing in contemporary traditional Jewish prayer books for Yom Kippur, and studied as part of a traditional Jewish Yom Kippur worship service.
While the Temple in Jerusalem was standing (from Biblical times through 70 CE), the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) was mandated by the Torah to perform a complex set of special services and sacrifices for Yom Kippur to attain Divine atonement, the word "kippur" meaning "atone" in Hebrew.
New synagogues inaugurated in memory of Danube Holocaust victims
600,000 letters in each Torah represent the 600,000 victims of the massacre. By Ilanit Chernick September 23, 2019
BUDAPEST – "From the ashes, this community is being revived."
These were the words of Rabbi Simcha Weiss of Israel's Chief Rabbinate.
On Sunday afternoon, a bittersweet ceremony was held on the banks of the Danube River.
The Jewish community in Budapest celebrated the opening of two new synagogues and the dedication of two new Torah's in memory of some 600,000 Hungarian Jews murdered on the banks of the river during the Holocaust.
Between December 1944 and January 1945, the Nazis murdered hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews at the Danube River, which runs through Budapest.
The first synagogue was inaugurated in Budapest and the second in Szentendre, a small town just outside the capital city.
"No one could destroy their neshamas (souls)," Weiss of the Jews murdered at the Danube. "There are 600,000 letters in the Torah... those killed at the Danube have now come full circle."
Weiss made it clear that each letter of the Torahs that are being inaugurated represent each of the 600,000 murdered, and that it was truly significant that the ceremony was taking place at the place where "their neshama came to rest here... they are now resting in peace."
He also praised the strong relationship between Israel and Hungary, and this Jewish community's contribution to the world.
Rabbi Shlomo Koves, chief rabbi of the EMIH-Hungarian Jewish Alliance and a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary, told attendees that "it was important to live and learn our own traditions," and said these two synagogues would give Jews in Budapest and Szentendre the opportunity to do so.
"This is dedicated to the future, but we must also be proud of our traditions," he said.
Hungarian Holocaust survivor and State Secretary of Parliamentary Affairs Concerning National Assets János Fónagy said he had no memories of the years he was in the Holocaust, and it was the Shoe memorial that "gives me memories."
He said he was born in 1942 and "there is no one in my family to give me those memories," adding that much of his family had been murdered during the Holocaust. "This memorial is remembering those who did not survive and those who are missing their own personal memories," he said. "We have duty and responsibility to remember, to respect the past, but also the future.
"The Torah is the heart of the Jews, it is the symbol of life itself," he said, adding that it must be passed on to the next generation.
For Rabbi Baruch Oberlander, chief of the Orthodox Rabbinate of Budapest, this ceremony had special meaning. He grew emotional recalling his father, a Holocaust survivor, telling him of how he watched the killings of Jews at the Danube. He added that his father's fake identity papers saved him from the same fate.
"It's a privilege to be standing here today," he said. "We are passing on the spirit of these martyrs through these Torahs."
The Klein family told The Jerusalem Post how their father and brother had been murdered at the Danube.
Mr. Klein, who asked for his first name not to be used, became deeply emotional as he knelt down to light candles by the Shoe Memorial for the loved ones he lost.
From there, the entourage traveled to Szentendre in several buses, escorted by Police.
Leaders and community members danced through the streets of the small town as the Torah's were brought to the newly built synagogue.
Locals and onlookers watched in awe as the dancing moved through, stopping to take pictures and some even leaning out of their windows to get a part of the action.
Koves joked that if the locals didn't know there was a synagogue before, "now they do."
Dancing and prayers continued for some time into the evening. As the celebrations came to a close, the shofar was blown in the spirit of Elul, Rosh Hashana and the theme of renewal. The writer is a guest of the EMIH.
How To Celebrate The High Holidays Like A True Israeli-This article is touge in Check --I don't believe it or practice it
You'd think that with summer finally being over and the kids firmly placed back in school, life would be back on track here in Israel. If only.
This is because we're gearing up toward one of the most complex periods of the Jewish calendar – the chagim, otherwise known as the High Holidays, comprised of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
And while in New York or London this simply means taking a few days off work and consuming a few pieces too many of honey cake, things are much more complicated in the Holy Land. So should you wish to celebrate the High Holidays like a true Israeli, you might want to use the following guidelines.
1. Overeat, obviously
Fine. The Jewish tradition of overeating isn't confined to the High Holidays or to Israel. But the combination of the two is downright lethal. Not only are Israelis staring down at endless yet obligatory chag dinners, but they also have to contend with the fact that everyone is on vacation, free to invite them over for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a whole month.
Our suggestion: don't even bother fighting it. Have your cake and eat it too. After all, you can work it all off once the holidays are over (more on that later).
2. Offend at least one branch of the family
One of the great things about Israel is how small it is, meaning that no matter how far away your family lives it's not such a huge effort to see them.
The thing is, this also means that your family expects you to celebrate all the chagim with them. Unfortunately, your in-laws expect you to do exactly the same. The result: Most Israelis mortally offend one side of the family on an annual basis by eating chag dinner with the other.
To avoid this conundrum, Israelis face three possible choices. One is to simply ignore any passive-aggressive comments made during the month of Tishrei. The other is to promise the neglected side of the family that you'll celebrate Passover with them. And the third is to wisely decide that you're celebrating the Jewish New Year in Thailand. Alone.
3. Observe Yom Kippur in the best possible way for you
Outside of the Holy Land, Yom Kippur is a pretty somber affair that usually includes fasting, repentance and a day spent in shul. But over here in Israel that's not quite the case. Sure, lots of people do spend the day according to Jewish law. But loads of others don't.
Instead, they make use of the ultimate day of rest in the country, during which roads are empty, TV channels don't work and no one picks up the phone. This means gangs of kids taking over empty roads on their bikes, adults catching up on their Netflix shows (behind closed curtains, so as not to offend the neighbors) or families spending the day camping. A truly Israeli way is to mix this all – shul in the evening and bikes in the morning.
4. Get all emotional while digging up sukkah decorations
The Jewish festival of Sukkot is marked by eating your meals and even sleeping in a sukkah, the makeshift hut reminiscent of the ones used by ancient Israelites on their journey through the desert to the Holy Land.
And while we're guessing that the ancient Israelites didn't care much for décor, nowadays it's very serious business that entails kindergarten kids slaving away for weeks creating sukkah decorations for their families. No matter what the finished product looks like, it will be cherished for generations to come.
So don't be surprised to see otherwise tough sabras getting all emotional whipping out their (now adult) kids' handmade creations.Even though they're all faded and gross, they're still very special – so don't forget to mention how lovely they are.
5. Go hiking, then curse yourself
The High Holiday season in Israel is one of the nicest ones in terms of the weather. Coupled with the fact that the whole country is on vacation, this means that just about everyone spends the holidays going on a tiyul or two.
This may sound absolutely lovely, but you'd probably think differently if you too were stuck in traffic with the rest of Am Yisrael on the way to that secluded, romantic spot you remember from years ago.
It's amazing that Israelis fall into this trap each year anew (perhaps the food-induced coma is to blame), simply to end up cursing themselves yet again for daring to leave the house for a bit of sunshine.
Still, you haven't truly celebrated the High Holidays in Israel if you haven't spent some quality time with the family in the car.
6. Tear your hair out over the kids' vacation
We imagine that parents around the world are thrilled come the beginning of September. After all, they get to send their kids back to school after a hellishly long summer of fun. Israeli parents, on the other hand, are not even a tiny bit excited, knowing full well that they have to fill in another three weeks of time off school, courtesy of High Holiday season.
After spending a fortune on summer camps, swimming pools and exotic vacations abroad, what are they now to do? Sadly, we have no answer, but if you find yourself pondering on that then you're truly Israeli.
Remember the in-laws, the traffic jams and the kids' free-time dilemmas above? Well, there's one very Israeli, one-stop solution for it all: Escape. Drop everything, pack your bags and book the cheapest flight out.
A word of warning, though:this survival mechanism is shared by about half the country. So don't be too surprised to find yourself celebrating chag with your in-laws after all, just on a Greek island.
8. Procrastinate, Israeli-style
Achrei hachagim. These two little words, meaning "after the holidays," pack into their slender form the widespread mentality of complete procrastination that takes over this time of year.
Come September, this short phrase becomes the answer to just about anything. When will I start my diet? Achrei hachagim. When can we discuss my pay raise? Achrei hachagim. When will government offices pick up the phone again? Achrei hachagim (don't hold your breath).
The fun thing about achrei hachagim is that you, together with the millions of people around you, get to procrastinate without feeling even faintly guilty about it. After all, if everyone else is lazing around, you really can't be expected to do differently. We guess it's not too bad being an Israeli after all.
9. Try to survive until Chanukah
This is a painful one. After a month of stuffing yourself with delicious food, hiking in beautiful weather and thoroughly neglecting all your duties, it's time to step back into reality.
Returning to the first full week of work after the High Holidays is truly horrible. Because after having our schedules littered with mini mid-week vacations for so long, how are we meant to survive a full five days in the office? It's simply inhumane.
To make matters worse, the next meaningful Jewish festival is Hanukkah, all the way away in the heart of winter. But if it's any consolation, we can now get Hanukkah donuts pretty much year-round.
The magazine of the authentic Jewish Idea Summer 5743 -1983 VIEWPOINT THE FIRE OF JEALOUSY
"O that my people would hearken unto me and Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hands against their adversaries."
The great day of the L-rd is near… a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress… a day of the horn and alarm… and I will bring distress upon men… because they have sinned against the L-rd… neither their silver nor gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the L-rd's wrath, but the whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy…" (Zephaniah 1)
One walks among the revelers and cries out in dismay: But can you not see the cloud? One watches as the people swims in gluttony and splashes about in the cool waters of self-indulgence and laughter and self-assurance and confident plans for tomorrow. And the seer shouts to them: "But do you not see the fire of His jealousy?" And they see it not and hear him not and go about their lives of merry heedlessness. Who wishes to hear the sound of terror in the midst of the summer of content? Why this discordant note to disturb our melodious symphony of mental sloth? And so the joyous revelers skip mindlessly through life, the joyous city that dwelt without care, that said in her heart: "I am there is none else beside me…"
But the signs are all about us, the signs that a jealous and angry G-d – whose mercy still overtakes His wrath – sends us, beseeching us to notice and to act. The signs are all about us, who can ignore them? The signs are upon us, how much time is there?
The Israeli planes that went out into the night to demolish the atomic reactor outside of Baghdad, brought joy and pride into the hearts of Jews throughout the world. Joy and pride, but not careful and deep thought. The destruction of the Iraqi atomic facility prevented the creation of a nuclear weapon. But for how long? How much more time will it take for the Iraqis to rebuild the facility? And what of Pakistan that stands today on the very verge of exploding its Moslem bomb? How does Israel bomb Islamabad?
The truth is that the bomb that Iraq and Pakistan and Libya and, only G-d knows how many others, are building is a thing that no one will prevent. And it is part of a worldwide fact of horror. Within a few years, tens of countries, including those cursed with mad and unstable regimes, will have flood of fire that will consume themselves and a world that said: "I am, and there is none else besides me." The fire is theirs; but it is the fire of His jealousy.
As some Adam, drunk with the wine of the Tree of Knowledge, man revels is his own intellect and progress. He throws off the chain of the Maker and convinces himself that He, the created, conceived Him, the Creator "Because thy heart is lifted up and thou hast said: I am a god… yet thou art man and not G-d." (Ezekiel 28). For his arrogance and for his pride, the L-rd who brought upon a generation of Noah a flood of water that consumed an earth, will this time decimate the arrogant with the flood of fire. A flood that is measure for measure, irony of ironies: the fire of man's own making, the fruit of his own prideful intellect, the fire of the brilliance and ingenuity of the King of the Dust.
The gentile is doomed because of his prideful arrogance and judgment is upon him for his persecution of the Jews. "Because thou has a hatred of old and hast hurled the Children of Israel unto the power of the sword in the time of their calamity… I will prepare thee unto blood and blood shall pursue thee… I will make thee perpetual desolations… And you shall know that I am the L-rd." (Ezekiel 35).
The end is upon a world that knew not the L-rd, and His jealousy for His name that was mocked, humiliated and defiled is come. For a world that humiliated the people of G-d and thus showed their contempt for the G-d of Israel. "For the day of vengeance that was in My heart and My year of redemption will come… And I trod down the peoples in Mine anger… And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth." (Isaiah 63).
The cloud of atoms and their nuclear crash and the hydrogen explosion will shatter a world that attempted to cast G-d out of the Garden of Eden of fools. There is nothing that will prevent that and it only remains for the Jew to understand that his fate, too, lies in the balance. The Jew can be part of a world that turns into ashes or he can find redemption. He can choose to remain with the revelers, with the self-deceivers, with those who suck in slothful contentment, or he can shake off the chains of self-indulgence and stop the race for mindless pleasure. He can cut the chains that tie him to the gentile and the gentilization and flee to the chambers: "Come my people, enter thou into thy chambers.. until the rage passeth; for, behold, the L-rd cometh forth out of His place to visit upon the inhabitants of the earth their iniquity," (Isaiah 26)
Those that daily defile the name of the L-rd and choose the Exile as their home, in contemptuous contentment and rebellious revelry – will share the fate of their fellow gentiles. Those who scorn the desirable Land of Holiness will fall in flames and ashes with the gentiles they preferred to worship. The Jew who refuses to climb Mount Zion and set there his home will be twice cursed: He will fall victim to the plague of hideous Jew-hatred that will send him reeling in Holocaust II; and he will share the fate of the gentile-who ironically will fall because of his treatment of the Jew. For the Jew, the punishment for refusing to flee the impurity and desecration of the Exile will be double fire: That of the gentile and that of the jealousy of the L-rd.
The bitter-joke is the Jew who wraps himself about in his mantle of religion, even as he treads daily in the dung of the Exile. The one who, despite his study and because of a corruption of G-d's Law and Commandments, speaks precisely as the irreligious, the atheist. All share the same blindness: All look at the Jewish State and see there the danger. None understand the salvation and safety the onlyin the Land of Israel. The irreligious without the rituals and skullcap may be excused – they know nothing and understand exactly that. But the irreligious with the kattans and heavily embroidered prayer shawls; the practitioners of ritual – what can we say about these?
"For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape…" (Joel 3) How is it possible that the students of the law shall be so ignorant? Ah, possible it is; and there were such times, in the past. The priests said not: "Where is the L-rd? And they that handle the Law knew me not." (Jeremiah 2)). And the great Biblical commentator, Rashi, explains: "They that handles the Law: The Sanhedrin…"
The two millennia of the Exile have twisted and corrupted us. It is not possible to remain a normal people without a normal existence of 2,000 years. Being without a state and government and army, makes one a people that cannot understand such things. Having no land for twenty centuries makes one forget how sweet and dear it is. The religious atheist becomes one who believes in the general power of the Almighty to do anything but flees to the gentile's right arm in every particular case.
The wearer of the Kaftan and layer of tefillin becomes a practical man; he seeks logical answers. He will find them with his gentile fellow citizen. He who lacks faith and trust in the logic of the G-d of Israel, will fall beneath the double fury of the jealousy of the L-rd. But on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, in the Land of Israel, there will be redemption. No, not for all – "And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the L-rd shall be delivered." (Joel, ibid) But for those who contemptuously scorn the Land because of fear of G-d's impotence – there will be no redemption. Together they will fall, the ritualists and the non, for both share the ultimate sin, an ultimate belief in the logic of man rather than faith in the Almighty. For the Jew, there IS a choice: Zion and salvation or the fire of His jealousy.
See you Thursday the 10th--assuming that you make it through Yom Kippur tomorrow bli neder